Zookeeper is a 2011 comedy film starring Kevin James, and featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte, Don Rickles, Judd Apatow, Jon Favreau, Cher and Faizon Love. The film is produced by Sandler's production company, Happy Madison, and is co-distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures.
The film was released on July 8, 2011.
Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) sets up a plan to propose to the love of his life, Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), but she rejects him and claims that his career as a zookeeper is what is keeping her away. Heartbroken, Griffin decides the only way to find the in his life is to quit his career as a zookeeper and find a more glamorous job.
The animals at the Franklin Park Zoo love Griffin as their kindhearted caretaker. After finding out about Griffin's plans to leave the zoo, they react with panic, and reveal to Griffin their ability to speak. In order keep him from leaving, they decide to teach him their personal methods on how he can find the love of his life without having to leave the zoo.
- Kevin Jamesas Griffin Keyes, the lead zookeeper.
- Rosario Dawsonas Kate
- Leslie Bibbas Stephanie
- Ken Jeongas Venom, the worker at the reptile house.
- Donnie Wahlbergas Shane
- Joe Roganas Gale
- Thomas Gottschalkas Jürgen Mavroc
- Brandon Keener as Nimer
- Adam Sandler as Donald the Capuchin Monkey
- Sylvester Stallone as Joe the Lion
- Nick Nolte as Bernie the Gorilla
- Don Rickles as Jim the Frog
- Judd Apatow as Barry the Elephant
- Cher as Janet the Lioness, Joe's wife
- Jon Favreau and Faizon Love as Jerome and Bruce the Grizzly Bears
- Maya Rudolph as Molie the Giraffe (credit as Mollie the Giraffe)
- Bas Rutten as Sebastian the Wolf, a gray wolf.
- Richie Minervini as Elmo the Ostrich
- Jim Breuer as Spike the Crow
Tweet, the giraffe who rose to fame as a star in the classic Toys "R" Us commercials and who appeared alongside Jim Carrey in the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, died after filming Zookeeper at the Franklin Park Zoo. The 18-year-old giraffe collapsed during feeding and in the care of his trainer.
There has been controversy generated as the film uses an elephant named Tai who was featured in a video reportedly filmed in 2005 and released in 2011 by Animal Defenders International (ADI) showing him being abused by its trainers. A campaign to boycott the movie was formed since the outbreak of the news. ADI has also contacted the American Humane Association, urging them to re-evaluate how they assess the use of animals in films and the statements being made which effectively endorse the use of performing animals. Animal rights advocates PETA also urged the public to boycott the film.
Around 50 people came to the film's premiere at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, California to protest against the filmmakers for their alleged animal abuse. Frank Coraci claimed that the animals were not harmed during production. In an interview, Coraci stated, "...We worked with people who love their animals and [the American] Humane Association was there to ensure that they were being treated correctly. We didn’t do anything that we shouldn’t do. We treated the animals with love and respect."
So far, the film has received mostly negative reviews. Only 13% of critics have given it a fresh review on the movie review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, with 10 of 77 rated "fresh". The site's consensus is "Zookeeper smothers Kevin James' inherent likeability with its sodden script and a surfeit of jokes that might be inappropriate for the young viewers intrigued by its juvenile storyline."
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, who co-hosts the movie review series Ebert Presents: At the Movies, said that "even though the movie looks hilarious from the trailer, it is only hilarious if you enjoy seeing Kevin James fall down a lot." He gave the film a "thumbs down," as did Christy Lemire, the other co-host of the series.
In May 2011, RedLetterMedia (creators of the Mr. Plinkett reviews) did an episode of the show Half in the Bag reviewing the film's first trailer. The hosts praised the trailer as if they thought it was a fake, well crafted parody of a tired subset of the comedy genre, at one point noting "All they were missing was a wise cracking sidekick for Kevin James, played by a rapper."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times published a three-out-of-four star review, stating, "Look, a great movie this is not. A pleasant summer entertainment it is. I think it can play for all ages in a family audience ... and besides, I'm getting a teensy bit exhausted by cute little animated animals. The creatures in this zoo all have the excellent taste to be in 2D."
Zookeeper made its debut in 3,482 theaters in the United States and Canada. It grossed $7.4 million on its opening day and $20.1 million on its opening weekend, ranking it #3 for the weekend behind holdover Transformers: Dark of the Moon and newcomer Horrible Bosses.
- ^ Kaufman, Amy (July 7, 2011). "Movie Projector: 'Transformers' expected to crush newcomers 'Zookeeper' and 'Horrible Bosses'". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/07/movie-projector-transformers-expected-to-crush-newcomers-zookeeper-and-horrible-bosses.html. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- ^ http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=zookeeper.htm
- ^ Fleming, Mike (April 4, 2010). "MGM Uncertainty Prompts Sony To Take Over 'Zookeeper' Domestic Distribution". Deadline. http://www.deadline.com/2010/04/mgm-uncertainty-prompts-sony-to-take-over-zookeeper-domestic-distribution. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
- ^ Sperling, Nicole (April 27, 2010). "Sony moves upcoming Kevin James comedy 'Zookeeper' into summer 2011". Entertainment Weekly. http://hollywoodinsider.ew.com/2010/04/27/sony-moves-upcoming-kevin-james-comedy-zookeeper-into-summer-2011. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
- ^ "Zookeeper Film Production Details". Variety. September 10, 2009. http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=chart_film_prod_d&dept=Film&recordid=1117787497. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
- ^ Valencia, Milton J. (September 14, 2009). "Tweet the giraffe, star of ads and movies, dies at Franklin Park Zoo". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/09/tweet_the_giraf.html. Retrieved June 21, 2010.
- ^ "Group claims elephant abuse in film ", Stuff (New Zealand)/Reuters, May 11, 2011
- ^ "Movie Star Electric Shocked". ADI. May 7, 2011. http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=2119&ssi=7. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
- ^ "Water for Elephants star electrocuted and beaten with hooks", DailyMail.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
- ^ a b "PETA protests at 'Zookeeper' premiere. Director says animals were treated 'with love and respect'". Entertainment Weekly. July 7, 2011. http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/07/07/zookeeper-peta-protests/. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
- ^ http://redlettermedia.com/half-in-the-bag/special-edition-the-zookeeper-trailer/
- ^ "'Transformers' Stays on Top, 'Bosses' Fires 'Zookeeper'". July 10, 2011. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3205&p=.htm.